ROCKFORD (WIFR) — More than six and a half million people are stalked every year in the United States, according to the Stalking Resource Center. And technology can play a role in the crime, which is why local agencies are getting a crash course on stalking.
Typing and texting are a big part of our world. Carrie Eike sees it a lot in schools when she talks to kids about preventing sexual harassment and abuse. She’s one of the many professionals learning how to recognize and respond to stalking, especially through technology like the Internet.
“Whatever you do out there, people can do a screen-shot and they can save it. They can use it against you to blackmail you,” said Carrie Eike, prevention education specialist at Mutual Ground in Aurora.
Michelle Garcia, director of Stalking Resource Center at the National Center for Victims of Crime, says technology isn’t bad, the problem is when people misuse it. That’s why she’s encouraging us to know the risks.
“For any of our technologies, who has access to it, how might offenders access it, what information do we share, what level of details, what information about us are other people sharing?” said Garcia.
Experts recommend we Google ourselves to see what information of ours is on the Internet. That information cannot be deleted, but we’re told there are ways to bury it. Using websites like Safe Shepherd can help get rid of our online information.
There are also tools like camera detectors to find hidden cameras. But Eike says tackling stalking early on, could be the biggest tool.
“If we can have a healthy relationship piece in our education for the kids, it could prevent a lot of stalking cases in the future,” said Eike.
Stalking is a crime and you should call police if you’ve become a victim. For additional resources, click on the attached links.